The future of Google Glass in health care appears to be by now not a question of if but a question of where and when. Philips Healthcare, in its explorations into health care's future, created a video that imagined how Google Glass might help clinicians, from the operating room to the hospital corridors.
Their concepts are already being reflected outside of their company and in the last few months alone the momentum is clear. Google Glass, the device featuring the tiny screen above the eye and camera that can snap pictures or record video, respond to voice commands and be controlled with head movements, is making medical news. In May, the University of California Irvine School of Medicine announced steps to integrate the wearable computer into its curriculum, from first- and second-year anatomy courses and clinical skills training to third- and fourth-year hospital rotations.
Earlier this year, Duke orthopaedic surgeon, Dr. Selene Parekh, was reported to perform surgeries using Google Glass.
Recently, a photo of Dr. Steven Horng, technical lead on Beth Israel's Glass project, appeared in The Boston Globe. He was wearing Google Glass. For Dr. Horng it was not about finding a bistro or street view but for quick, hands-free access to patient data. According to the article author, Callum Borchers, emergency department doctors are using Google Glass for access to patient records at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, a trailblazer which held a four-month pilot program before launch so that doctors could learn more about how to work with the equipment. Google Glass was put to work as part of a system involving a QR code posted on the doorway to each patient's room and software that can read the code and call up the record of the patient. Dr. Horng noted how each second counts in a hospital environment and fast access to timely information can be life-saving; Horng also said he wanted to use technology in a way that kept doctors in front of patients, not screens, away from the computer and back to the bedside.
With doctors around the country showing interest in how Google Glass can support their work, a California-based electronic medical record company recognizes the momentum, and a Reuters story about the company's launch was making the rounds of the technology and medical press. Namely, the company, Drchrono, has an app positioned as a "wearable health record." The site is inviting sign-ups to be beta testers.
The company was founded by Daniel Kivatinos and Michael Nusimow in January 2009, is based in Silicon Valley, and the site notes that "Google, Facebook and Apple are only a few minutes from our office." The company said, "Our vision of making providers more mobile began with the announcement of the iPad in 2010, which eventually led to us creating the best mobile EHR on the market." Google Glass is entering its scene as a companion to the tablet. The company site said, "imagine being able to chart, take photos, and see your patient's vitals without lifting a finger." Reuters reported on Thursday that doctors who register for the Drchrono app for Glass can use it to record a consultation or surgery with the patient's permission.
"Videos, photos and notes are stored in the patient's electronic medical record or in Box, a cloud-based storage and collaboration service and can be shared with the patient on request." To develop the service, Drchrono worked closely with Box, one of its early investors, and the Google Glass team, according to Reuters. ("As we bring Box to more organizations, our mission remains the same: to make sharing, accessing and managing content ridiculously easy," Aaron Levie, CEO, has stated on the company website. The company was founded in 2005, and Box is a cloud platform for businesses to store, share and manage company files.) Meanwhile, Kivatinos, according to the Reuters report, said, "Google is still in the early-stages of determining the most viable use-cases for Google Glass. But some doctors are demanding Glass, so Google is providing resources and support to developers."
According to Reuters, "Drchrono claims to have 60,000 registered physicians using its electronic medical record for doctors and patients. More than 300 of these physicians have already opted to use the app, Kivatinos said."